Slovakia currently has four geoparks

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Slovak caves are world-famous, but less is known about geoparks. These areas serve the world as a modern tool for tourism and new place for leisure activities. Their aim is to support efforts to protect both living and non-living nature, to operate green tourism and to educate the public in the form of stories. Thanks to the Ministry of the Environment (MoE), the Network of Slovak Geoparks has been expanded to include the Geopark Malé Karpaty . The ceremonial act of declaration of the geopark was opened by the State Secretary of the MoE Juraj Smatana, symbolically during the European Geoparks Week (24.5. – 6.6.).

According to State Secretary Smatana, geoparks are a modern tool for green tourism, environmental education, protection of inanimate nature and sustainable land management. As emphasized by State Secretary Smatana:“These areas use the potential of the landscape down to the smallest detail. In order for them to become truly beneficial for society, cooperation between state institutions, local authorities, municipalities as well as NGOs is important.”

The admission of the Geopark Malé Karpaty to the Network of Geoparks of the Slovak Republic is the result of a long-term effort to build a geopark according to the principles of the UNESCO organization, through a grassroots initiative. Over the period 2017-2021, there has been significant progress in building up the background, organisational structure, the object system and the variety of implemented actions. The concept of the geopark is based on the creation of individual geomontane areas that form a unified complete unit – the geopark. Geopark Malé Karpaty has long been built on the principles of good relations, work with the public and youth education. The enthusiasm of the Geopark management translates into well-functioning cooperation with state and public authorities, scientific institutions and non-profit organizations. Jiří Vitáloš, representative of the Geopark Malé Karpaty, stressed that the Geopark is eatablished on three pillars – inanimate nature, living nature and culture. He emphasized that“Our task is to bring their interaction closer to the general public” .

The complex geological structure of Malé Karpaty, the high geological and biological diversity and the culture influenced by them are the source of many stories. The territory includes a number of exceptional sites, starting with the castle rock on Devín, through Sandberg, Marianka, the mining area between Pernek and Pezinok, vineyards on the slopes of the Malé Karpaty, to karst areas around the Driny Cave and around Plavecké podhradie.

The Geopark Malé Karpaty has joined the already established UNESCO geoparks of the Novohrad – Nógrád Geopark, the Banská Štiavnica Geopark and the Banská Bystrica Geopark.